End Everyday Racism launches its first report on racial abuse in Cambridge

They gathered over 100 anonymous testimonies from students and staff at the University

The End Everyday Racism project was launched in October 2018 by Dr Monica Moreno Figueroa and Dr Ella McPherson from the Department of Sociology. Since then, the project has collected 117 testimonies of racial harassment from students and staff at the University of Cambridge, using an anonymous web-based reporting programme. The report was released yesterday (16th), during an online launch event hosted by its founders.

Earlier this week, The Cambridge Tab published an investigation of figures of racial harassment at Cambridge Colleges which showed that in most colleges, the number of formal complaints made each year was five or lower. The testimonies collected by End Everyday Racism extend beyond those that have been through formal reporting procedures, and the published report organises this data in a display of the patterns of “everyday racism” in Cambridge. Here are some of the conclusions that the project has reached based on these findings.

“Students are the most vulnerable population to racialisation in Cambridge”

87 per cent of the reports made to End Everyday Racism were from students, with a further ten per cent submitted by staff, and 1 per cent from alumni and non-academic staff respectively.

Overall, 40 per cent of those who experienced racism identified as “Asian”, whilst 28 per cent identified as “Black”. The document states that: “The current pandemic is having a significant impact on the racialisation of Asian people. This is reflected in the fact that half of incidents submitted by those who identify as Asian have been reported since February 2020.”

“More than half of all racist incidents have been in Colleges”

The majority of incidents happened in a college environment, at 52.8 per cent, and a further 16.7 per cent were said to have taken place in Departments. Other locations that the report lists are “the street/commuting”, “Club/Cafe/Restaurant”, “Library/Museum” and “Home”. The location of 23 percent of incidents can be attributed to various university grounds and buildings.

Responses have shown that the perpetrators of such abuse are usually students and academic staff, as each of these groups was said to be responsible for 25 per cent of racist incidents. Academic staff and porters are the other two groups mentioned, both of whom were said to be behind 12 per cent of racist incidents respectively.

“Respondents reported a feeling of not belonging in Cambridge as a consequence of the racist incident they experienced.”

60 per cent of people who submitted a response said that they felt they did not belong in Cambridge after experiencing racial harassment. The report details the complex range of over 373 emotions felt by respondents, which include humiliation, anger, and confusion.

Additionally, more than one in four people who reported a racist incident felt that their job or study was potentially put at risk as a result of the abuse they faced.

End Everyday Racism highlights a comprehensive list of action points at the end of the report, recommending ways in which staff and students can be made to feel safe at the University. These include University-wide anti-racism training for students and staff, support for anti-racist groups, and increased visibility of the University’s anti-racist stance in the town of Cambridge itself.

The closing remarks of the report are a reminder that “Racist incidents create an overwhelming range of physical and emotional reactions for those who experience them, making it difficult to process and move on. This should be taken into account in all actions taken.”

In a statement, a University spokesperson said:

“The Ending Everyday Racism initiative raises important issues that we must all address, and we welcome it. There is no place in Cambridge for discrimination on the basis of race or any other characteristic. It is a responsibility for all of us across the collegiate University to acknowledge and eradicate racism. The University will continue to take the necessary steps to eradicate racism in all its practices and processes.”

On the subject of yesterday’s launch, Dr. Hande Güzel from End Everyday Racism told The Cambridge Tab: “The launch of the first End Everyday Racism report has been a starting point for us to underline the pervasiveness of microaggressions and everyday nature of racism in Cambridge, and to further push for institutional change to eradicate it.

“Racialisation can often make one feel like they are alone, and as the report shows, that they do not belong in Cambridge. I hope that our platform and report show all those who have experienced or witnessed racism that they are not alone, and that racialisation of any form is unacceptable. Through everyone working for and reporting to the ‘End Everyday Racism’ platform, we are making a collective and loud statement to end everyday racism.”

You can read the full report by ‘End Everyday Racism’, here. 

Cover image credit: End Everyday Racism via YouTube